Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Be bery, bery quiet...

You, dear reader, are aware that The Washington Post is publishing a series of articles on the expanding role of "security" in America, in response to the 9/11 attacks. The authors of the series have spent two years investigating the ever-expanding super-secret world of secret security secretly designed to keep secret America's secret security. They secretly put together all the secrets they learned on a secret website & blog called www.TopSecretAmerica.com. They describe our secret security and intelligence structure, which has secretly become so bloated and "so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, or whether it is making the United States safer." (AP) I kid you not, this is true.

Here's some of what they learned (...and don't tell anyone, as it is secret):

Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on Top Secret programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence at over 10,000 locations across the country. Um, that's like more than a hundred.

Over 850,000 Americans have Top Secret clearances. Where do I get me one?

In the Washington area alone, 33 building complexes for Top Secret work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. When you go out and count them yourself, please remember to do so discretely.

The (aforementioned) blog will anchor the Top Secret America site providing updates on Top Secret America coverage, original journalism and insight around related national security matters...including a searchable database illustrates information about government organizations that contract out top secret work, companies they contract to, the types of work they do, and the places where they do it. Okay, I pretty much stole most of that paragraph from the AP verbatim. But it makes it even funnier.

A map displays locations of all the clusters of Top Secret activity and some basic information about those areas. In case you get lost?!?

Each of nearly 2,000 companies and 45 government organizations has a profile page with basic information about its role in Top Secret America. Um, really? A profile page for all of the top secret work? How secret is this whole thing anyway? Come on, you can tell me.

... readers can filter searches by companies doing a specific kind of work, all companies mentioned in the story, or all companies with more than $750 million in revenue.

The Post estimates the number of contractors who work on Top Secret programs to be 265,000. Let's see... $40,000 (median salary that I made up...) times 265,000 equals $10,600,000,000. A year... What do you think they spend at Staples on office supplies?

The NSA plans to expand by two-thirds its current size over the next 15 years. Giggle. I thought the NSA was supposed to be ... well, secret.

Do you get the feeling that Elmer Fudd would do a better job of keeping a secret?

1 comment:

  1. Yeah - and the "Latest News" comments on the fact that the site "has also been a topic of discussion among designers and new media observers intrigued by the series' use of databases and interactive elements to help tell the story." Seriously?
    Never-mind about all that secrety-secret stuff, your blog is really pretty!


Please don't take me too seriously.